ON account of Executive Order No. 464 issued by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this afternoon,
newly appointed U.P. College of Law Dean Salvador Carlota has instructed members of the U.P. Law Center were faced with the dilemma whether or not to attend tomorrow’s Senate hearing of the Committee of the Whole investigating the North Rail project.
The Center’s legal experts are set to testify at the Senate hearing on the legality of the contract between the North Luzon Railways Corporation (NLRC) and the China National Machinery and Equipment Corporation (CNMEC) and the buyer credit loan agreement between the Export-Import Bank of China and the Philippine government. The contracts will cover Phase I of the NorthRail project that will construct an 80-kilometer double-track, narrow-gauge rail line between Caloocan City to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport inside the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga.
But the research team
are defying Carlota’s order and said they will be present in the hearing at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The legal experts include:
- Prof. Danilo Concepcion, U.P. Law Center outgoing director
- Prof. Bartolome Fernandez Jr.
- Prof. Florin Hilbay
- Prof. Solomon Lumba
- Prof. Merlin Magallona
- Former law dean Raul Pangalangan
- Prof. Carmelo Sison
- Prof. H. Harry Roque Jr.
The technical experts include:
- Dr. Hussein Lidasan, transport economist of the U.P. National Center for Transportation Studies
- Engr. Rene Santiago, former NLRC chief operating officer and transport consultant
- Dr. Primitivo Cal, dean of the U.P. School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP)
- Dr. Crispin Emmanuel Diaz, SURP Director of Graduate Studies
The Center was commissioned by the Office of the Senate President to conduct a study on the legal, economic, financial and technical aspects of the North Rail contracts. The project costs US$503 million, to be funded by a US$421-concessional loan from China to be paid in 20 years with a five-year grace period at an interest rate of three percent.
Malacañang is reportedly requesting for a cancellation of the hearing.
Meanwhile, Carlota is set to appoint a new Law Center director in the person of lawyer Susan Villanueva, a lecturer at the College of Law. A partner at the Villarasa and Angcangco Law Offices (The Firm), Villanueva was the one who endorsed Carlota to the deanship race that pitted him against Pangalangan (who was bidding for an unprecedented third term), Concepcion and Prof. Marvic Leonen, the University’s vice president for legal affairs.